Marie-Antoinette often wiled away her afternoons, evenings and even nights gambling. Encouraged as a child by her mother Maria Theresa, as she knew that a princess who could not play well would soon be separated from her money, her habit reached its nexus once she became Queen.
The game of Tric Trac was highly fashionable at Versailles and throughout the artistic milieu in Paris. The Queen’s household organised several times a week, games in the Salon de la Paix located on the first floor of the chateau next to her official bedchamber. Marie-Antoinette lost tremendous amounts accumulating huge debts, and she had to ask for the King’s financial support on many occasions which he usually offered happily, despite a royal ban on gambling!
It is therefore quite possible and tempting to suggest that the Queen of France played Tric Trac on a similar table to this example supplied to her by one of her favourite ébénistes Etienne Avril. Etienne Avril was an ébéniste who worked during the reign of Louis XVI. He became a master ébéniste in 1774, working in the Rue Charenton, Paris. He was a respected member of the furniture trade and a favourite of Marie-Antoinette. He aided her in the refurbishment of the Chateau de Saint Cloud and supplied furniture to her private apartments at Versailles. This late 18th Century Tric Trac Games Table Stamped E. Avril is currently available at Timothy Langston Fine Art & Antiques.